If you have built or done a construction then you know that getting that 100% look and final finish is somewhat elusive. There is always that annoying crack, or uneven paint or crooked corner or a chipped edge. Despite all the best planning, materials or even fundis we all agree to come to that perfect finish is a little difficult.
The array of decisions on the right material, right fundis, the right plan, and the drama of changing workers (fundis), wrong mixing proportions, availability of funds all contribute to this. I have since noticed 1001 errors in my house that need fixing.
I have an empty plot next to mine, but there is always that anxious/jealous thought that what if someone more endowed moved in and did a big, better and more beautiful house than mine? What if they got more beautiful plans, better quality of material and better fundis than mine? I know and have seen bigger houses, but the thought doesn’t scare me if they are far, but if they moved next door? Some selfish thought wants that someone with a ‘less than mine’ house will be fine.
But here is something I would like you to think about? What if God moved in to your neighborhood, What Kind of a house would he choose, Who would he hire for fundis, what materials would he use to build, what kind of a plan would He use?
We introduce our theme this year in this first term series entitled: The church Next door and I have entitled my sermon today – Look who’s moved in?
My thesis is simply that God has chosen to delight and dwell in the Church next door.
The important question is how is the Church Next Door constructed? And even more important are we the church next door? I pray that God will give us his perspective on where He chooses to dwell and how that can create envy to those around us?
Read Text: 1 Pet 2:4-10
2017 marks the 2nd year of our EMERGE 7 year strategy as Lifespring Chapel. In this year Lifespring Chapel Syokimau turns 9 in March 2017. It is also an election year for our Nation usually characterized by uncertainty, unease and possible transitions.
As a church, we sense this is our season to go ‘beyond our 4 walls. We have grown together as a community and God has blessed us this far with families and friends, good ministry, resources and this sanctuary. Through the years God has exposed us favorably in this community.
Now we sense it’s time to grow and go beyond these 4 walls. As we have considered that the ‘harvest is truly plentiful in Syokimau. Christ is calling the believers out of the church and the non- believers into the church. As we have hardly explored the full 0.5Km radius there is already a need for authentic community that will uphold/ come along the emerging families in Syokimau especially through this election year.
While the Nation seeks for safety in numbers and in political parties and ideologies, At Lifespring Syokimau, we want to respond by modelling and offering an alternative community that offers the Gospel of LIFE that unites and builds whole communities.
We have taken note of our gifting and resources including, strong community groups, networks/partnerships and our newly finished sanctuary as strategic. We cannot remain comfortable in our few numbers, we must harness all that God has given us and actively seek to grow our membership and influence in this community year.
With this background- we see ourselves responding timely as the Church Next Door. With this theme next year- we want to capitalize on Relationships to do reach within our community. We believe we are well equipped with the Gospel of LIFE to break cultural, political or religious barriers, by being open, relevant and accessible to the needs of the Syokimau Community.
But again- What are the Convictions of the Church next door- What are the foundations of the Church Next door? Has God found us worthy of His dwelling? How can the place of God’s dwelling make a difference in this community?
Approximately 62-64AD the apostle Peter writes to the Jews who had become Christians scattered through Asia (minor) to offer encouragement to the Churches who were facing persecution because of their faith. Peter himself was familiar with this persecution first hand and eventually died a martyr, His language in this book reveals his personal understanding of the meaning of his Name, Rock as well as the mission He received from the Lord, when Christ said that ‘on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not overcome it’
How is the Church Next Door built- Allow me to focus on these 4 key areas and ask ourselves how you compare
First- The Church next door is laid on Christ the Solid Rock as it’s foundation. All others are sinking sand.
Jesus Christ is the Precious Corner Stone of a sure foundation. Whether the church as a community or an individual believer Christ is the tried stone to whom we are brought and fashioned and fitted. Paul emphasizes the same in 1 Cor 3:9-11, There is no other foundation that a man can lay apart from the one God has laid, who is Jesus Christ. In other words the choice of the foundation is no longer our responsibility but Gods. When we come to Christ, God lays that foundation and on it we stand and on it we build.
It will be a tragedy to build our lives this year as tall building when the foundation is not trustworthy or shaky. Or Imagine starting to build your house on a land without a title deed or fake title deed, Christ comes to us as the real Land Lord that cannot be revoked. Trust is the foundation of any worthwhile investment.
We are not worthy of God’s dwelling, if the foundation is our work or the work of men. It’s only about time the tower will come falling down, or the ground will shake under us.
As a believer, What really is the basis of your faith, what personal convictions do you have, what anchors you? Or would you be building on others faith?
With time the quality of our foundation will be tested…. This year we will face trials, troubles and tribulations alongside joys and cheers and celebrations. Have you stopped to really ask yourself- What is at the core of my faith? Do I really trust God to build my life on Him.
If we have built on the Cornerstone this stone is precious but if we reject the corner stone we will stumble and fall. How does this foundation look like in your marriage, in your career, in the future of this nation, how does this cornerstone affect your decisions. This is how we stumble and fall….
First we begin to lack confidence- we are gripped with fear and insecurity we start to wobble- Second we become inconsistent- easily distracted, everything is relative, seek entertainment to fill up, Third we lose stability- we lose faith in God during hard times, sorrow and difficulty, we loose hope and Forth- We lose our witness, we cant bear fruit – In-fact we destroy others and mock their faith or we get depressed and die.
God will not dwell on any other foundation, other than that which He himself laid and that is Christ. The church next door has it’s foundations laid on Christ.
Secondly: The Church Next door is built by quality materials: If Christ has become our foundation, then how we build is our responsibility. However God is concerned with the quality of the materials not just that we have built. Sometimes we think if my work is well done that is good enough.
This is a big injustice we do as Christians, after such a strong foundation has been laid, how dare we build with grass, straw and wood? God calls us to build with gold, silver and costly precious stones. In other words materials that has been tested by the cross- What do I mean?
After Christ work on the Cross, how do we build on our faith and hope for it to be strong without subjecting ourselves again to the cross. When the foundation is hard, how do we expect easy Christianity.
Did Christ die on the cross so that I can know him via wassup, Did Christ die on the cross so that I can serve him when I am in good moods, Did Christ die on the cross so that I can chose who to invite to church or not, Did Christ die on the Cross so that I can come to church because I did not have a bad hair day? If this is how we hope to grow in our walk this year- we deceive ourselves, why scorn the sacrifice or the foundation laid. Our works have not been to the Cross, we have not learnt to deny ourselves and carry the cross?
Listen to the Prayers of our Fore-fathers (borrowed this from somewhere)
John Knox- Lord give me Scotland or I die
St. Patrick- Lord give me souls or give me nothing else
Others prayed during revival- Lord if you will not use us, please Kill us
Others in the Cold in England …Lord give us men that will spread your fire
Others starving for food prayed….The harvest is ripe please use us
Paul prayed, Lord woe is me, if I don’t preach the gospel
Listen to our prayers today
God give me money….A spouse or God give me a Visa….
Prayer and Fasting is laborious
When Christ came on Paul he asked what will you have me do, But we instantly expect favor, increase from one level to another, promotions…..
We seek the men of God and miss the man on Calvary, Our giving and tithing is painful and full of debates, we complain at how long church is, we are unavailable to serve, we are too busy for home fellowships, too tired to study God’s word….It shall all be blown away.
Scripture here encourages that our work should also be precious as the foundation is precious- so when the day of trial comes we will be strong.
Thirdly is the Plan; The church next door is built on an eternal plan. The church next door is built with an eternal purpose in mind. It is built not just with good management and leadership and development plans so that it can be prosperous and survive the times. The plan is to present the Church as a place of sacrifice or communion with God. Only the church can do this, only the church is that priesthood that can connect us to commune with God.
A man or a woman’s personality is expressed through his body, if we are the church is the body of Christ, we are to express the personality of Christ. What God has determined to do, the Church must make way for Him to do in her and through her- Do you see why you being part of the body of Christ is very important in terms of the hope of this community.
Our Goal as Christians is not to be a lifeless house, or a museum….but we are living stones, a priesthood offering spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God through Christ.
The Church next door is built to express out the LIFE or personality of Christ.
How is your LIFE reflecting God’s eternal plan? Think of many who do not know peace, love , joy….how can God use you, your marriage, your career to express out these things to a hopeless world?
The church next door is strengthened by Unity: As the country begins to take sides on politics and stir division, the church next door has a shared LIFE.
The church is not a collection of people from various backgrounds who have come together because they agree on one doctrine. We are not a church because we have Kikuyus who are Christians, or luos who are Christians, or Kalenjins who are Christians. In other words Kikuyu believers plus jaluo believers is not equal to church.
Read Eph 2:14-18- The difference is the word One New Man. There cannot be Kikuyu Christian, Luo or Kalenjin Christians…If we want to be Christians, we cannot be anything else but Christians
When we come together to church and break bread together, we not only come to receive something but also relinquish somethings. When people come to the church next door, they relinquish their baggage’s of tribe and backgrounds. The cross gives us LIFE but takes away our various lives. Inside the Church next door only what is of Christ alone is found, He must be all in all.
The church next door has this distinctive Vs. 9-10
Are we worthy of God’s dwelling? This year how can you build your life as the church next door
Is God calling you to grow your foundation- are you disciple, have you connected, would you like to be disciple?
IS God calling you to grow in your prayer- (the 21 days of prayer and fasting)
Is God calling you to be more serious with him in the word, in fellowship,
Look, who’s moved in.
Read the scriptures above, Ephesians 1-2, 1 Peter 2:4-9, Ps 121
What are some shaky foundations you stand the risk of building on this year? Describe areas you may have stumbled and fallen before? What areas is God asking you to develop stronger foundation in your faith.
Has your work been on the cross? What areas is God challenging you to sacrifice or carry the cross and follow him
What are action steps you commit to do from this teaching
Commit to praying for each other this week on your individual walk with the Lord this year that we may be the church next door both as individuals and as Lifespring Chapel.